If there is one thing I have come to realize the last few weeks it’s that grief is completely unpredictable, and that it will not be ignored. You will not skip by it, you will not just put it off until later, you will get doubled over and knocked down, and then struggle to keep some sort of composure as you muddle through the day.
I have just been sort of going through the motions the last few days, putting one foot in front of the other and acting like everything is fine. It’s not fine; it doesn’t seem real at all. At least 4-5 times I started up the road and thought, “I have to call mom,” then would remember that she’s not there to call. Then my mind would do this weird flip flop of trying to reject that fact and act like it was all just a bad dream. If only we lived in soap opera land that might be true. Then again, I’m not one to stand around plotting and worrying all day.
Somehow I just didn’t plan for this rollercoaster, and feel like I should have seen it coming, I should have anticipated or something. You see, my birthday is tomorrow. It’s never been that big of a deal for any of us. We don’t go way out of the way, or celebrate for weeks or a month, or anything like that. I am not really sure why, we just never have.
Yet, every year my mom would call me at 5 minutes until 5 o’clock and say, “Well, it’s about time you woke up! (insert year)’s ago you kept me up all night long waiting for you to get here! Happy Birthday!” Then later on we would meet up and she would have made a cake and have written out a card. It didn’t hit me until this weekend that I wouldn’t hear that message that used to make me smile and roll my eyes at the same time.
This last Saturday, my oldest daughter went to her Senior Prom. She was simply beautiful, so very grown up looking in her dress with her boyfriend by her side. I had to work so I wasn’t sure I would get to see them before they went to Prom, but they waited and made a special trip to come back by the house so I could snap a few pictures. It was a bittersweet moment, I am so amazed at how much she’s matured and has really grown into a wonderful person, I was nailed again thinking how my parents would have loved to see her all dressed up.
My youngest daughter went to a friend’s house to stay so it was just me, the dog, the cat and boxes of stuff to go through. I was at a really low moment on Saturday, and just let myself cry for a while, talking to my mom as is she was there with me in the room. At one point I asked, “Why, Mom, Why did you leave? Why aren’t you here now?” It was then I looked in the drawer of a cabinet, and found an envelope.
I turned the envelope over and pulled out a birthday card from my mom. There was no date on it, but I know it must’ve been one from the last few years. There she had written “Happy Birthday, Cherry. If wishes were dollars, we’d both be rich. I have so many wonderful wishes for you, and in the end, it’s the thoughts and wishes that count the most anyway. Love, Mom”
Thanks, Mom, you have NO idea how much I needed that! Then again, maybe you do.
Cherry Coley ©